Archive for the ‘healthy living’ Category

Reading for Thyroid Health

???????????????????????????????It is officially autumn everywhere in the northern hemisphere. In south central Minnesota this morning, the long grass has a heavy coat of rime and mittens warmed my hands on the morning dog walk.

This, my friends, is the time of year when I break out Rosamunde Pilcher’s last book, Winter Solstice. Somehow her words help me adjust from the outdoor life of summer to the cozy, indoor life of winter with nary a whimper.

Suddenly a warming cup of tea seems so much more appealing or a morning coffee inside a cozy coffee shop in nearby Stillwater, Minnesota sounds heavenly. Cloudy, gray days become days of reading by the fire. Rainy days can even seem appealing when you read. This power of words on a page is remarkable and it reminded me that there is healing power in books as well. With the influence of words on my mind I thought I would share some thyroid resources with my readers.

Isabella Wenz

I actually have not read Isabella Wenz’ book but from reading the reviews I can tell that she has helped people immeasurably with her self-published book, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause.

She is a pharmacist with Hashimoto’s Disease. When she was diagnosed she made it her mission to find all the root causes of the disease and her research is invaluable to those of us with thyroid dis-ease.

I signed up for her newsletter and received her free first chapter and nutrient dense gluten-free recipes. In reading for exactly 5 minutes I have already learned something that is worthwhile. I eat out very seldom but when I do there is a good chance of cross contamination because I know very few restaurant kitchens have dedicated areas for preparing gluten-free foods.

There is a supplement that I am going to order that can help if I am exposed to gluten. Pure Encapsulations has a product called Gluten/Dairy Digest. As she says it doesn’t mean you can eat gluten again; it simply helps with cross contamination issues and I need that help if I want to enjoy an occasional meal out with friends.

Janie Bowthorpe

My favorite thyroid book and one I always recommend is Stop the Thyroid Madness. If you suspect you have thyroid issues or have been recently diagnosed with thyroid issues buy this book. It is also the best book to purchase if you have been on T4-only drugs (Synthroid, Levothyroxine) for years and really haven’t improved. This book has now been revised and in the second edition she has added information from patient experience and all the latest research.

In her book, Janie has compiled a list of “good docs” because honestly there are so many ill-informed doctors that one needs to know where to start. Every state should have at least one good doctor to help you finally get better. Unfortunately, Minnesota is rather lacking and I do not understand why.

Another issue that Janie’s book helps with are the questions that you as a patient need to ask your doctor. If you take your questions to your doctor and they laugh or are rude about their superior position and these silly questions, as she says, “fire” your doctor and find someone who doesn’t laugh at you or find your questions objectionable.

Thanks to books like STTM, doctors are no longer considered gods, they have been exposed for what they are. They are humans, just like you and me, with a certain set of skills (some with very little skill when it comes to healing a thyroid issue).

Finding a good doctor could be likened to finding good friends, some are more compatible than others and if you have thyroid problems you need a “good doc” to assist you on your path to wellness.

Paul Robinson

Paul’s book Recovering With T3 is the book to turn to if your adrenals become a hindrance to your healing journey. He also has a new book published The CT3M Handbook that goes into more detail on how to treat fatigued and worn out adrenals by dosing your T3 in a circadian rhythm.

His method has helped me a great deal. After being on T3 for two years I was still having issues taking enough T3 to eliminate symptoms. After I read Paul’s first book I started taking a dose of T3 at a time between 1-3 in the morning. After doing this for a while I was able to increase my dose to 50 mcg and with slight seasonal adjustments that dose has kept me pretty healthy for two years now.

I have never followed his method to the letter but my altered method has worked for me. For one, I couldn’t set an alarm clock to wake me up at an exact time every morning. If I did that I would just be up for the rest of the night. I am a restless sleeper at the best of times, so I awake many times to turn over or adjust my covers.

Since I am awake to turn over or adjust my body on the bed at 1, or 2, or 3 (not necessarily at all three times but at least at one time or the other) I just take my 25 mcg of T3 whenever I wake up to turn. That does mean that some days there are barely 4 hours between taking my dose and being up for the day but it hasn’t affected me negatively and I have only seen improvements. I advise anyone who asks what they should do about their adrenals to try Paul Robinson’s method as it is so much better than taking yet another drug.

Krisinsight

Those are only three books on the subject of treating thyroid disease but they are three of the most useful in my opinion. If you seek other voices on the subject there are many and they are all qualified in their own way. Researchers, doctors, and other people with thyroid issues like Mary Shomon, Broda Barnes, Mark Starr and  Datis Kharrazian. Any of their books will enrich your life and improve your health.

I love to read and I read daily, several different times of day no matter the season. Often books on health be it thyroid, diet, exercise, Reiki, chakras, and even meditation are my books to read when I want a break from housework. My Kindle is loaded with all of them. I get a task done and turn on my Kindle or my Kindle app on my iPad. I am presented with a plethora of books from which to learn something, anything.

That getting a task done to be able to read was a great idea I got from my sister-in-law, Jody. She gave me that very sage advice and I follow it to this day. She is an avid reader and in order to read as much as she wants she makes sure she accomplishes a work task like cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming the house, completing loads of laundry. When the task has been accomplished she makes a cup of tea and sits down to read.

Another bit of reader’s advice from a person who doesn’t sleep terribly well (me). I think t is important to read appropriately. I find feel good books (like Winter Solstice) are my bedtime books and mysteries (any book by Deborah Crombie for instance) are my get-me-out-of-bed books in the morning.

If you aren’t sleeping well and you love tension filled television shows before you go to bed or you must watch the horrible television news before you nod off, take a break, read one of the three books on healing your thyroid. You may just sleep a little bit better and, at the very least, if you don’t sleep well you can spend the night ruminating over the facts you have just discovered and put them to work for you the next day.

Santé,

Kris

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Finding Your Joy

IMG_1917 (2)Ooh-wee! It is hot in Minnesota! It is also State Fair time which traditionally is one of the hottest 10 days of the summer, so what do we expect?  In Minnesota we should have learned to expect the unexpected that’s for sure but somehow we never learn.

We have gone most of this summer being somewhere between cool and too cool. The garden has grown in a stunted fashion because, after all, it needs warmth to grow. People who own boats have had to stay away from the water (as I mentioned only last week) because it was just too cold to enjoy.  Then when we have finally resigned ourselves to not having a real summer and a garden that is something less than useful, Mother Nature turns on the blast furnace and raises the thermostat to 100.

Oh well, I am grateful for the heat. My garden grows again. My green beans are producing a plethora of the little beauties that can be made in to Chinese Hot and Spicy green beans. I am even freezing them to enjoy this winter. My zucchini, which were not growing at all, are producing several long green squash a day and that even allowed me the extravagance of making stuffed zucchini the other day (I will share the recipe at the end of my blog because it was easy and tasty). My tomatoes are ripening at last and my “winter” squash are bearing fruit but guess what? They aren’t winter squash at all. They are yellow summer squash, so yet another packet of seeds got a little confused.

Speaking of confusion

Yes, it seems there is always something that you are surprised to find out and this weekend I had such an experience. I had the pleasure of having our daughter and her two adorable boys overnight on Friday. This seems to be the only way my daughter and I find time to talk, so it was really fun and we are so grateful that she is willing to traipse over here with all her accoutrement.

A surprising revelation came up in one of our many discussions that made me think I might owe my readers a bit of an apology. It seems a friend of hers follows my blog (although she may no longer be following it). In talking to her friend my daughter learned that her friend, in trying to live up to the lofty ideals about which I write, became somewhat depressed. That is, trying to eat real food and live a healthy lifestyle was causing her to be depressed and down on herself because she just could not keep up with feeding her family in the ways I write about (more truthfully it is what I used to write about).

What came first, happiness or health?

This made me think I might be or might have been emphasizing the wrong things and for that I apologize. I have never professed to live a 100% healthy lifestyle as defined by Weston Price or Dr. Joe Mercola. I write about them because so many people just don’t know or are not exposed to a healthy lifestyle smorgasbord, so they can some here and learn something new and exciting. I find them fascinating and want to share whatever I learn BUT I am a firm believer in my version of the 80/20 Rule.

What is my version? I mean by 80/20 that you live a healthy lifestyle 80% of the time and allow some wild abandon 20% of the time. It may not be a guarantee of living to 150 years of age but to me finding your happiness and joy is far more important than being self-righteous  and somehow superior because you never, ever, ever cheat. If you have no joy what is 150 years of life really going to do for you?

I confess. I do cheat now and then. I do have sweets. I do have wine and alcohol. I have hot black caffeinated tea with real milk every morning. I don’t exercise every day (although I am now running barefoot most days) but every day I do one thing. I try to find joy in my life. Finding joy and happiness comes from gratitude and keeping track of the good things in your life is really important. To remind me of the joy in my life I have a daily gratitude notebook. I write in it most days and when I make my entry I try to find at least one thing that makes me smile when I write it.

Can joy really make you healthy?

I think happiness makes you healthy above all else. Sometimes it is difficult to lift your head and smile but when you finally do the joy will heal you and your soul. You can live by all the rules, never drink alcohol, always eat whole foods, never eat feedlot beef or penned up pork, exercise every single day but if you never smile, never laugh or are incapable of seeing the bright side of life I believe you will not be healthy.

Krisinsight

There has to be balance and I try really hard to balance my life. I have an autoimmune disease that makes some things impossible. I can’t eat wheat or food that contains gluten. I can’t have coffee anymore as it seems to react much like gluten does and gives me aches and pains. I can’t avoid taking drugs because I depend on T3 for my survival. I can’t avoid supplements because a body with an autoimmune disease has trouble maintaining healthy levels of nutrients no matter how good the food is you eat.

In other words I do have some limitations within which I must live, some things are musts for me to live comfortably. I guess everyone has those things that they simply must do or not do and for all of us it is different. I really do apologize to anyone who ever read my blog and thought that you simply couldn’t live up to the lofty standards held within these pages. This blog was never here to lecture; it was always, and will always be here, simply  to educate. What you do with the knowledge is your business and no one should feel judged nor condemned by their choices.

I love my readers and writing my blog brings me great joy and tremendous satisfaction. I thank you all and wish all of you happiness and joy. See you next week and then Krisinsight will take a break and resume when autumn has arrived.

Now on to the recipe (the original can be found here).

Hamburger Stuffed Zucchini

Ingredients:

  • 2 Medium zucchini, cut in half, the center scooped out and reserved
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons sauteing oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1-2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 7-ounce jar of tomato paste
  • Basil, oregano, garlic granules, salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated

After you have scooped the center out of the zucchini, dice up the scooped out bits and reserve. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop the zucchini halves in the water; bring back to a boil and remove in about 5 minutes and drain. Place them in a baking pan that holds them snugly in place, so they don’t tip over.

Saute the diced onion for a few minutes in oil that covers the bottom of your pan. Add the ground beef and gently cook until the meat is no longer pink, add the diced up zucchini innards and the minced fresh garlic. Cook for a few more minutes and then remove from heat.

In a large measuring cup combine the tomato paste, garlic granules, basil and oregano as well as a generous amount of salt and freshly ground pepper. I think using an amount that appeals to you is more important than a suggested amount but I used a teaspoon and a half of basil, oregano and about a teaspoon of garlic granules. Add this mixture to the hamburger and mix thoroughly.

Scoop the meat mixture in to the center of the zucchini, cover with cheese and bake in a 350º oven. Bake for about an hour but check to see the cheese is not browning too much. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving. Bon Appetito!

Santé,

Kris

 

Food Sensitivities

IMG_1917 (2)This has been a week dominated by fire watching from afar. We have watched fire consume acres of land around our private bit of Idaho ravishing livestock and wildlife as it raged through. For the last few days we have watched as hungry flames quite literally eat the landscape around Hailey, Ketchum, and Sun Valley but for now our cabin and land remain untouched.

We, my SU and I, watch our computer monitors with mouths agape as fire fighting helicopters wrestle with what they are calling “Fire-nadoes”. These are virtual whirlwinds made entirely of fire fueled by summer dried trees and sagebrush. Fire fighters on the ground are filthy with soot but keep doing their job of saving lives and structures.

They have done their job very well indeed, as few structures have been lost and no humans have perished thus far. Even the animal shelter near Hailey, Idaho was protected so well you can see the burn came right down to the structures but nothing was touched, it wasn’t even licked by flame and that, my friends, is fire fighting at its best. Just so you know, all the animals (including some bomb sniffing dogs) were safely removed and re-housed in other locations until the fire danger passed.

Meanwhile, here in Minnesota it is dry and warm. It is mostly stereotypically August although we often are much warmer than we have been. I don’t hear anyone complaining (with possible exception of those who own boats who shall remain nameless). Today, smoke from the western fires will waft over us but mostly it will be a Sunday like many others, me writing my blog for publication tomorrow morning bright and early and John catching up with unfinished business from Friday.

Food sensitivities

MSG

I have talked about food sensitivities on this site many times and it is still a subject of some curiosity for me. You all know about my burning mouth syndrome and irregular heartbeat issues. I explored numerous food issues from MSG (excitotoxins) to gluten in the past. Through very unscientific research I concluded that MSG wasn’t causing my irregular heartbeat but excitotoxins (as described by Dr. Russ Blaylock) are not good for us whether or not we have obvious reactions and I avoid them if at all possible.

Bioactive Amines, Salicylates,Nightshades and others

I found this great article titled “Natural Food Toxins” in my research this week. Chloe, research assistant and friend, and I were talking this week about aches and pains and causes of said A&Ps. She brought up nightshade vegetables and the fact that eating potatoes makes her feel quite upset. Nightshades are notorious for reacting this way on people and sure enough they are included in the article “Natural Food Toxins”.

You all know about my Burning Mouth Syndrome and I remain perplexed by the causes but I am starting to narrow down some of the culprits. I am not sure of their connection, if any to each other, but coffee is a definite culprit. Ground peppercorns on my eggs this morning caught my mouth on fire. I believe that supplements with rosemary extract ignite the issue as well. Any kind of mint be it peppermint, spearmint or wintergreen will make my mouth burn for days. What do all of these things have in common? Yup, you guessed it, they are all natural food toxins.

This is a broad category of foods including some dairy, meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and herbs. The article at Healthknot.com is well worth reading and the link is there if you click on the first mention of “Natural Food Toxins”.

Gluten

Gluten free has become the new buzzword for food sensitivities and allergies. For some, the mere hint of gluten in their food can cause their throats to tighten and swallowing impossible.  Others are more intolerant than allergic. For me it is a culprit behind many negative health issues including ensuing malaise and seemingly irregular heartbeat. I cannot tell you, the reader, how or why gluten affects my heart but I think and have had it confirmed by others in the thyroid groups that being “glutened” can and does cause autoimmune attacks and since my heart is prone to irregularity an autoimmune attack seems to be a trigger.

Lactose

Lactose intolerance is the number one food people have trouble with. Whether it is a true allergy or an intolerance doesn’t really matter to the person who is having issues with a food. My friend Chloe totally eliminated dairy from her diet to see if it was a culprit in her fibromyalgia and found, perhaps to her delight, it really didn’t seem to make any difference. Nothing changed and she was true to no dairy for months. I can’t see that dairy affects me negatively. I never ache after consuming dairy products. My heart never bothers me (no change in pulse even). I cannot see that dairy is a negative for me in any way other than calorie content. That is not true for others and for them lactose causes too much distress to make consuming it worthwhile.

Krisinsight

Consuming gluten causes me to ache all over, have autoimmune issues within weeks of consumption and my heart reacts negatively within hours of consumption. The odd thing (at least it seems odd to me) is for most Celiac patients coffee has a similarly negative effect. They cannot tolerate coffee and this week after two episodes of achy joints I connected the dots.  I don’t have coffee very often but I do have it as a treat once in a while particularly on weekends and at my daughter’s house.

Last Saturday, we had coffee and that night I had a ruined night’s sleep as I tossed and turned with aches and pains in my knees like you wouldn’t believe. Sunday night was okay and I slept well but then I didn’t have coffee on Sunday. Monday I had coffee at my daughters and unbelievably I hurt all night long again. My knees ached and my hip ached. I got up during the night and I could barely walk my ankles were so stiff (I thought this was from running barefoot on my driveway at the time). I was starting to feel very old for 59. Then Tuesday, Wednesday and the rest of the nights this week were full of good sleep with no achiness. Of course, I have avoided coffee ever since Monday.

I mentioned that my ankles were stiff and they were and I did blame the running but it suddenly went away with no residual soreness or stiffness once I had the coffee at least 48 hours out of my system. I have since run barefoot all over my driveway and yard with no issues. Yesterday, I even did lunges across our backyard in addition to jogging. This did affect my left hip-joint last night but nothing else ached, so I conclude coffee is as bad for me as gluten.

I don’t know about you but I keep wondering what will be next and why. Do people with autoimmune issues just have more aches and pains? Or, as I tend to think, do we know that this is not normal? Do we just not accept? I know that aches and pains are not a normal part of aging, that they represent a problem. The problem is inflammation. That inflammation is a result of some thing that your body is missing, is reacting to and/or to which your body just wants you to pay attention.

I think it is important to pay attention to these aches and pains before you need a hip replacement, before your fingers are crooked with arthritis. Pay attention before your cells go crazy and multiply and some doctor tells you that in order to live you need chemotherapy and radiation. Hello Kristin!!!! Are you paying attention now? I sure hope I am. I am going to try really hard to do as I say and stop doing as I have been doing and get rid of these aches and pains.

Santé,

Kris

 

 

Myxedema Coma

IMG_1917 (2)Another week has come and gone and as with all weeks there were ups and downs. I had the joy of meeting up with friends on not just one day but two with lots of healthy laughter and some moments of poignancy. My birds entertained me royally from my kitchen window and my garden produced a plethora of multicolored beans.

On the downside our own private Idaho seems to be surrounded by forest fires that are spreading precipitously every day thanks to high winds and no precipitation. Our cabin is small and on the side of a mountain, so we watch and worry about seeing it every morning when we check our webcams. My prayers go out to all those who live and work in the area of the fires as these fires threaten not just their mountain cabins; the mere lick of a wind-swept flame could put their families in harm’s way.

While not really a downside the more serious issue of my health was discussed with my homeopathic/MD doctor and we are now trying to decide what all my food sensitivities are. There is a blood test I could do for $750 (“Should you win the lottery, or somehow find yourself with some spare cash.”) or I can keep a food diary and see if I can figure out what causes my burning mouth syndrome. Suspects include rosemary (for the moment) but who knows I haven’t kept a food diary in a long time and while this issue has plagued me for several years I can never connect it to anything in particular.

Anyway I wonder how your week was, did you have any health revelations? Did you see friends and spend lots of time laughing and enjoying just a touch of civil disobedience? Whatever your week presented you with I hope it was a week not wasted with something learned every day and every moment experienced even if not always enjoyed. After all even the bad things in life are to be appreciated. When you conquer the “bad things” you feel such a sense of relief and contentment.

I forgot my T3

One of my “Oh No” moments this week was being contacted on Krisinsight by a group member/friend. Her note stated that she was flying out-of-town for the weekend and she forgot her T3. Would she be okay? At first I panicked for her because there is a good chance she wouldn’t be okay.

After I gathered my wits, which can often be scattered under stress, I had some suggestions. What I didn’t want to tell her was the possible consequences of not taking your T3, especially if your thyroid no longer makes its own hormones, so I avoided the bad stuff and just tried to think of possible solutions.

Myxedema Coma

One consequence of not taking your T3, in case you didn’t know by now, is a condition called myxedema coma (a decompensated thyroid). If your body isn’t getting T3 (whether from taking T3 or taking a natural desiccated thyroid product or Syncrap)  you suffer loss of brain function due to low levels, over an extended period of time, of thyroid hormone.

Symptoms are severe mental changes, hallucinations, edema, difficulty breathing, abnormally low body temperature (80 degrees is possible) pleural effusion, etc. Myxedema coma is more likely caused by the failure of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus to make the thyroid hormone it is capable of making or you are not supplying the hormone in the case of someone who is already being treated for hypothyroidism.

There are various triggers for myxedema coma. Triggers might include various drugs (especially narcotics, anesthesia), stroke, trauma, heart failure, internal bleeding and last but not least forgetting to take your thyroid hormones. Ultimately a person who suffers myxedema coma may die if not treated promptly and correctly. This was the news I did not want to relay to my friend.

What can you do?

Instead I told her the first thing that popped in to my head. Perhaps she could try to find someone in her host city that would have T3 she could use until she got home. This would necessitate contacting the RT3 group and crying out for help which may or may not be very productive but it was the first thing I thought of and relayed to her.

Another idea would be to look up a health food store (even Wholefoods) that carries thyroid gland supplements. Taking that will supply you with T1, T2, T3 and T4, so once you are home you might have to go through a clearance process but at least you would prevent an issue of myxedema coma.

As I thought about this more I realized the best thing to do is contact your doctor or pharmacist and see what they can do to help you. In her case, she contacted her compounding pharmacy on Saturday morning. She was able to find a compounding pharmacy that was open  near her hotel and they were able to fill her prescription. That is where she left me as I am sure she got busy with the business of a class reunion and hopefully attended all the functions with no repercussions nor lack of thyroid medication.

Krisinsight

Thankfully most of us reading this will never suffer from myxedema coma but I thought it was something everyone should be aware of in case, just in case. I always travel with medication in several different places (but never in checked baggage) just to be sure I don’t leave home without my T3. It is a worry because to forget your T3 at home can have serious ramifications especially for those of us on T3-only.

I wonder if another good practice would be to investigate possible sources of thyroid meds wherever you are going. Google health food stores in the area and perhaps even call or email them and ask if they carry thyroid gland supplements. Talking to your doctor before you leave might serve the purpose of letting them know, if they get a call from out-of-state, you might have to call in case of emergency. I know I could do this with my homeopathic/ MD because she is a one person practice and sooner or later she would respond. Can you think of any other possible solutions to what could be a deadly omission to your holiday plans?

Summer’s Bounty Recipe

IMG_2211 (2)

My garden continues to produce but it is being very parsimonious this year. To use the word “bounty” is generous but it sounds good to my ears. Any other word would just  sound pathetic. For instance this year I planted an entire long row (at least 6 feet long) of little round French carrots and got perhaps as many as 12 carrots. Each one being precious I have only tasted one or two but yesterday I pulled six of them, washed and polished them like precious gems, and roasted them for supper.

When I was done I had these gorgeous carrot tops resting on my kitchen counter and I couldn’t throw them away, so I got this great idea of making pesto with them and found a recipe to provide amounts and possible ingredients. Did you know that carrot greens are high in potassium? We thyroid types always need potassium, so what better way than eating carrot green basil pesto?

Carrot Green-Basil Pesto

  • 1 large handful of carrot leaves without stems
  • 1 large handful of basil leaves
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 0r instead of seeds 1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces
  • 3/4 cup oil of your choice (I used 1/4 flax-seed oil and 1/2 cup olive oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
  • generous grinding of pepper

I put this all in my processor in the order as written and processed it until I had a smooth paste. It was pretty thick, so I added more oil but you could add the lemon juice the original recipe called for. Despite the fact that the article said carrot leaves can be bitter, the pesto is quite sweet and pleasant and I will use it as I would any pesto on gluten-free pasta, on sandwiches made with gluten-free bread or as a dip for fresh vegetables. Bon Appetito!

Santé,
Kris

 

Got Greens?

It has been a dark and gloomy week in Minnesota with intermittent spring-like thunderstorms and warmer temperatures. If barometric pressure bothers you this has been a bad week and many are complaining of renewed pain and restless nights.

Personally I have an ache in my head that is constantly there above my eyes and in the occipital portion of my skull, aka sinus/allergy headache, and I wish it would abate. I take comfort in knowing, this too shall pass like the waxing and waning cloud cover and the budding and blooming trees and shrubs.

Speaking of budding and blooming trees, allergies and headaches, reminds me of the color green. The color green reminds me that I wanted to tell you that I may have finally found a green powder that doesn’t turn my world inside out. A green food that doesn’t wreak havoc but has all the benefits of a super green powder.

Why think green?

My interest in greens started a few years ago when Mercola extolled their virtues and recommended juicing lots of green vegetables as a breast cancer preventive measure (of particular interest having lost a sister-in-law to breast cancer and another sister-in-law having had a double mastectomy). Most of dis-ease is a result of uncontrolled inflammation and greens reduce inflammation.

They have visibly reduced inflammatory responses in my body. What do I mean by visible change in my body? When I started with Boku Superfood years ago there was a large cyst on my right ring finger that was impinging on the growth of my fingernail and causing a deformed nail. One doctor suggested a trip to a surgeon to have it removed but I resisted.

I tried numerous experiments to get rid of the cyst (thinking it might be a ganglion cyst I hit it hard several times to no avail) and then I started on Boku Superfood, a nutrient dense powder with lots of greens, and over time the cyst disappeared along with one that was on a toe and a small one on my left hand. In my opinion, these cysts were inflammatory in nature and as inflammation decreased they were resorbed.

The only trouble was Boku Superfood caused some major tummy upsets. I just didn’t know it was Boku at the time, I thought it was something else. I also ignored the heavy reliance on brassicas in Boku but eventually I had to admit to myself and now to you my reader that the powder was messing with my delicate innards. I just hadn’t quite figured out what ingredient was responsible.

So when do you admit defeat?

Actually I admitted defeat for reasons other than my upset tummy. My endocrine system got really messed up about 7 years ago when I took myself off my thyroid meds and unbeknownst to me this eventually caused adrenal fatigue and an irregular heartbeat that was, let’s just say, bothersome.

I looked for every reason under the sun for that erratic, unpredictable and  irritating heartbeat as many of you may know. Thanks to all my research I am more knowledgeable than I was but in the process I did come to some erroneous (but potentially correct) conclusions. One was that the brassica vegetables were causing my thyroid to be under productive (check out this blog post) and that Boku Superfood was ultimately responsible because it was largely composed of the dreaded brassica veggies. Don’t get me wrong, brassica vegetables are a problem for those with hypothyroidism but I now know green powder was not the culprit responsible for my irregular heartbeat.

Long story, short, for various and sundry reasons I quit drinking Boku Superfood and my tummy aches got better. I hated to give up my anti-inflammatory drink but I had  to admit defeat and move on.

On refusing to take chemicals

If you think green drinks are bad for your digestion and your thyroid what can you do for inflammation? Take ibuprofen? Acetaminophen? Aspirin? Ah, no. Not me anyway. I was determined to find a green powder that I could use, so my quest began. I would carefully scrutinize the ingredients and choose powders low in brassicas but the upset tummy persisted and the rumbling gas and loss of nutrients to diarrhea seemed to plague me.

I was and have been suspicious of flax-seed, particularly flax-seed meal, for some time. Flax and flax meal are both supposedly “so good for you” that I just couldn’t accept that flax was the offending ingredient. As time passed the light slowly dawned, if I took just Chlorella or Spirulina I didn’t have an upset tummy. I even tried E3Live and never had a moment of discord in the nether regions. As soon as I tried Garden of Life’s Perfect Food Super Greens I was running to the bathroom with that all too familiar discomfort again.

That did it, I ran in to the kitchen and tore the container out of the pantry, put on my reading glasses (yes, you read that right, reading glasses) and scrutinized the list of ingredients. There it was. I had failed to see it in the online list of ingredients: flax-seed. Another green powder bites the dust.

Kris Insight

At last I know I need a green powder that has no flax and is filled with greens from every green source and not a preponderance of brassica veggies. I don’t like fillers nor sweeteners in my green powder. I would prefer it blended easily in to water with a spoon but if it will blend with a whisk I am fine with that. Taste and texture are unimportant when compared with diarrhea and gaseous bloating.

Midori Greens seems to be the best answer for me. Midori Greens are sold at http://www.iHerb.com (WordPress won’t even allow a simple link to iHerb, urgh!). Admittedly, it seems expensive for the size of the container but one small scoop seems adequate, so the cost comes down. If you want more and don’t mind the cost, have several scoops a day.

The powder will whisk in to water easily and the taste, while not fabulous, is not bad. It tastes green and unadulterated and could easily be added to apple juice or juiced vegetables. There is a little residue at the bottom of the glass if I mix it with filtered water but if you add it to a smoothie it disappears and is undetectable.

For me the best part is I am getting my greens, my inflammation has not returned and wait for it……I’m not flatulent. Hurrah! Every day without bloating and gas is a great day. By the way, I thought you should know the sinus headache  that I spoke of in the beginning is a distant memory. I wonder if the barometer is finally rising?

Santé,

Kris

A Big Bowl of Comfort

Of late I have become totally addicted to soup. I know it is winter and quickly becoming the season of my discontent but whatever the reason soup tastes really good in the evening, kind of like having an entire bowl of comfort. I guess that is why they call foods like soup “comfort food”.

I thought before the season passed and we start craving salads and hamburgers on the grill I would share a soup recipe I found on Eat Nourishing. This site emphasizes healthy alternatives to foods that otherwise might not be as full of nutrients as they should be. For instance, Chocolate Cream Frosting and No Bake Cheesecake would normally be considered full of bad ingredients and empty calories but the versions offered here sound delectable to me and have some nutrient value. The following recipe, while originally from the site, has been altered to suit my tastes and ingredients from my garden.

Hearty Hamburger Soup

  • 1 quart homemade turkey bone broth
  • 1 quart juiced home-grown tomatoes, frozen and thawed
  • 1 pound of grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 pound carrots, sliced in uneven chunks
  • 1 onion in large pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, in large pieces
  • 1/2 of large head of green cabbage, sliced or cut in chunks
Before starting the soup put the broth and/or juiced tomatoes (if you have whole tomatoes just use them) in a blender and add the onion and garlic and blend until a *smooth puree is formed. Place the puree and broth in a Dutch oven and add large chunks of ground beef approximately the size of meatballs. Add the carrot chunks and cook on low heat for several hours (**perfect for the slow cooker) and then add sliced cabbage and the following spices:
  • 1 teaspoon Marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon Thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground Cayenne Pepper
  • Celtic Sea Salt to taste (I add about 2 teaspoons)
  • Freshly ground black Tellicherry peppercorns

Now simmer until the cabbage is cooked to taste. I like it well cooked and soft but still identifiable. Serve in large bowls so you have a sensory experience as well as a savory one.

*Personally I think the key to the soup’s delectable taste is to puree the onion, tomatoes, broth and garlic before starting the cooking process. I have never done it with other soups preferring chunks of all the vegetables but whole frozen garden tomatoes necessitated it the first time and I came away a believer.

**I haven’t done this soup in a slow cooker but I see no reason why it couldn’t all be thrown in the slow cooker before you leave for work and left to simmer all day. The cabbage might be more translucent but the flavors will still be wonderful.

See you next week.

Santé,

Kris

When Your World Goes Topsy Turvy

Late last week I felt a little like my world had imploded. I was inundated with information that was the unlocking of the proverbial Pandora’s Box. Rather like being a Christian all your life and suddenly finding you don’t believe in the dogma anymore. Yikes!

What Happened?

What you may ask had this effect on me? Ramiel Nagel’s book Cure Tooth Decay. In 250 pages the author, who is not a dentist but a health researcher, had destroyed or attempted to destroy all that I had known to be true for at least 35 years. I could casually dismiss everything he said but it was so well researched and the research answered some longstanding questions. I could not and would not dismiss it just because it wasn’t what I have been taught. Not what I had been taught and not what I am teaching because rightly or wrongly I stick to the party line in whatever office I am working in.

The Why of it All

After all my years of looking at patient’s teeth I am still in wonder that some people no matter what they do still get tooth decay. They floss every day if not twice a day, they brush religiously and watch what they eat and drink and still when they come for their exam and cleaning they leave disappointed by their dental needs. I have had people leave in tears, most notably a woman of about my own age who recently left tearful and discouraged.

She had done everything in the traditional practitioner’s book and still had a return visit required to repair new decay. We gave her a message of hope and told her not to despair but this bad news was just more bad news on top of other bad health news and she was not in the mood.

I might have approached her with some new ideas had I read Cure Tooth Decay earlier. I might not have proposed that it WILL cure tooth decay but that it MIGHT. Most of his ideas fall under the “well it can’t hurt” category and seem worth trying if only for a few weeks. I would never propose that a person with a tooth that hurts delay treatment because often if a tooth hurts it needed to be fixed yesterday (but the author does propose giving it some time).

What the Author Has to Say

Ramiel Nagel states, and there is plenty of research (check out his reference material at the end of every chapter) to prove his statement, that it may all come down to the parotid glands and their relative health. The parotid glands regulate the activity of the nutrient rich dentinal fluid and in some people parotid glands are very well-developed and in others they are not. This might explain why there are people who can drink a 6 pack of Mountain Dew a day and never have a cavity and others if they even look at that same 6 pack will have 6 areas of active decay.

He is also a believer in eating the right foods and while the diet would be very strict if watching what foods go in your mouth stopped decay wouldn’t it be worthwhile? He is an advocate of the principles touted by the Weston Price Foundation and he is especially fond of  fermented cod liver oil and Factor X butter and lots of homemade bone broth to heal existing small areas of decay.

Mr. Nagel would have you eliminate anything with phytic acid and that includes whole wheat products, brown rice and unsoaked nuts like almonds. Don’t for one second think about drinking soda, fruit juice or battery acid (no just kidding on the battery acid) and forget about fluoride, it is a “poison”.

Thyroid Connection

There is even a thyroid connection. The thyroid is regulated by the anterior pituitary gland. Often the relationship of the thyroid to the pituitary is not considered, leaving thyroid treatments ineffective. A malfunctioning thyroid also plays a role in producing tooth decay and gum disease because the thyroid plays a role in maintaining blood calcium levels. To repair thyroid function, the anterior pituitary gland usually needs attention. People on medications that affect their thyroid can have significant tooth decay problems often from lack of saliva to cleanse their teeth. Nagel also contends that people who have tartar are not assimilating their calcium and it is deposited on teeth instead of in bones where it is needed.

This information hits close to home. I form a lot of tartar on my teeth and I clean my teeth and gums regularly. When I have taken a NTx test I show bone loss of an alarming degree on a daily basis and this is no doubt connected to my ongoing battle with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. That alone might explain why I have so much tartar on my teeth despite my oral hygiene practices. I am grateful for a low rate of decay despite this malfunction but my diet is quite purposefully low in sugar and acid producing foods ( I don’t even like the taste of soda anymore).

What Should You Do?

I don’t know how to best answer that question other than by asking several questions of you the reader. Do you have a new area of decay every time you go to the dentist? Do you brush at least twice a day? Do you floss once a day? Do you drink soda and/or fruit juice of any kind? Are you a caramel or licorice fanatic? Do you use fermented cod liver oil or X-Factor Butter? What kind of toothpaste do you use? Do you employ a Water-Pik in your daily dental care? These are pretty basic questions and they would help me point you in the right direction but it may not be that simple.

There is one more important question. Are you open to new ideas? If so, read Cure Tooth Decay and take away any useful information you can employ in your day-to-day life. If you vehemently disagree with what the author says then go about your business as usual but you will never again think about dental health in the same way. I guarantee it. If you read the book and have questions, please ask. I have tried several of his suggestions and would happily hear from others who have or are thinking about it.

Events in the Coming Week

One more unrelated item before I close this week. Kathryn Niflis Johnson is holding a discussion group at her house in Woodbury, Minnesota on February 10th from 7:00-8:30. the topic is Thyroid/Adrenal Health and Dr. Paul Ratté is the featured speaker. Chloe Swan, my research buddy, and I will be there to add our two cents worth and we are looking forward to the sharing of ideas. If you live in the area and want to participate just click on the highlighted Thyroid and Adrenal Health and it will link you to the necessary information.

Santé,

Kris